We are still experiencing plenty of freezing temperatures here in the Kankakee area, and the folks in our community will be running their heat for at least a few more months. With so many people in the area needing some kind of heating service for their furnace, we thought it would be a good time to explore the topic of feeling cold in the winter time. Here’s our take from the perspective of a local heating company on the pros and cons of getting cold.

The debate over being cold

Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people have no problem keeping their house below 60 degrees, and others are frozen little ice cubes if their home falls below 75. Your perception of cold is largely related to a number of different factors, including your metabolism, circulation, nutritional deficiencies, or other conditions such as hypothyroidism or diabetes. But beyond your perception of cold, what about being cold? Should you turn your thermostat down in the winter, or is the cost to your health going to be more than the energy savings? Here’s what we found.

Getting too cold is hard on your health

Overall, if you get too cold, you can put yourself at risk of a number of health issues. It’s not only uncomfortable, it could also be unhealthy. Unfortunately, any or all of these problems could happen to you if your furnace breaks down in the dead of winter. If that happens, contact our heating company in Kankakee for expert service on a repair or a replacement. Here are some of the risks of getting too cold:

1. Getting cold can foster the growth of rhinovirus

You know how your grandma always said, “Don’t go out without a scarf and hat or you’ll catch your death of cold”? Did you ever protest, “Grandma, people don’t get sick from being cold, they get sick because of bacteria and viruses that overpower their immune systems”? Well, science has now found that Grandma may have been right after all. The rhinovirus, one of the most prevalent causes of the common cold, can grow more quickly in chillier temperatures. When you go outside and your nose drops a few degrees below your normal body temperature, it’s possible for rhinovirus to grow faster than your immune system can keep up with destroying it, leading to cold symptoms.

2. Getting cold makes your heart work harder

If your heart isn’t in the best of shape, or if you have a family history of heart disease, you may want to pass on letting yourself be cold all the time. Even getting cold temporarily, such as walking into a chilly room of the house, may not be the best idea. Here’s why: Cold weather will trigger your body to constrict the blood vessels in your extremities (hands and feet), conserving more warmth in your core. This constriction temporarily increases the blood pressure in the rest of your body. High blood pressure is not cool. Your body eventually deals with this by dumping out some of the liquid from your blood plasma into the urine to restore equilibrium. However, in the meantime, you can be subject to strain on your heart, angina, ventricular fibrillation, and other unpleasant outcomes.

3. Getting cold robs you of restful sleep

How about a night of shivering and curling up in the fetal position? We say, “No, thank you.” Being too cold at night robs you of restful sleep, leading to you being tired and less productive the next day. In order for you to sleep deeply and restfully, your core temperature has to be at the right level and your skin needs to feel warm to you. What’s the right temperature to shoot for? It varies from person to person, so just go with what feels comfortable to you. If you’re cold-natured, wear warm pajamas, pile on the blankets and comforters, and consider using an electric blanket. If you’re more warm-blooded, use as many or as few blankets as you want. It’s up to you.

4. Getting cold places stress on the body

If you’re already getting enough stress at work, consider skipping the extra load of stress that cold temperatures place on the body, and indulge yourself in a warm, toasty house. Your body needs to maintain a very balanced, stable internal temperature, and the colder the exterior temperatures are, the more work your body has to do to keep up this ideal temperature of 98.6 degrees. Stress on your body can lead to intensifying other symptoms or health issues that you were already dealing with, and it can lead to illness in those whose constitution is weakened or impaired, such as young children or the elderly.

5. Getting cold decreases your immune response

Your immune system is your body’s defense against unfriendly bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, and other pathogens. However, when you get too cold, most of your body’s energy gets diverted toward keeping you warm, reducing the energy available to the immune system to fight off illness.

There are a few pros to being cool (not cold)

Ok, there are a lot of pros to being cool, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Cool temperatures (not cold ones) can have some benefits, including the following:

  • Taking a cold shower can increase your alertness, boost levels of hormones like testosterone, and improve circulation, immunity, and muscle recovery.
  • Sleeping in a cool room (60 to 68 degrees) can help you to release more melatonin and other anti-aging hormones, lose weight, and lower your risk of metabolic disease.
  • Spending time in cooler temperatures can trigger your body to increase your stores of brown fat (the good kind of fat), which can help you to burn more calories and lower your blood sugar,

What to do if your heater does break

A furnace breaking down in the middle of winter is no fun, but it can happen to anyone. If this happens to you, your house can get cold fast. We would recommend that you find a safe, warm alternative place to stay if possible. If not, take the following precautions:

  • Pile on the layers. If necessary, wear several layers plus a coat, hat, scarf, warm socks, and shoes.
  • Use space heaters, but be aware that they’ll rack up a hefty electric bill in a jiffy
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia, and take action if you suspect that you are experiencing either one
  • Take precautions to ensure that your pets are safe and warm. Birds, for instance, are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and they can die if they get too cold.
  • Do NOT light a fire inside the house unless you have the correct setup, such as a working fireplace or woodstove with a proper chimney. Any other fire can easily burn down your house and fill the air with smoke that has nowhere to vent, leading to lung damage and/or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hopefully, you won’t experience any of these dangers, even if your furnace does decide to quit. When you call Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating, we do our best to take care of you in a prompt, timely manner that’s professional and courteous.

Contact us today for furnace replacement and repair in Kankakee

If your furnace dies, don’t suffer in the cold. Get the heating professionals from our store in Kankakee to come out and take a look at your HVAC system. No matter what kind of system you have, turn to Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating for expert service. We can repair or replace your existing equipment, and when we do, we’re committed to doing it for a fair price and giving you the options that will be the most energy efficient and cost-effective for your home. We even offer emergency heating service for folks who are without a furnace, so don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to serving you. Call us or fill out our online form today.